How to Choose a Nursing Home in Chicago: Questions to Ask

Woman nurse explaining how to choose a nursing home in Chicago to an older woman.

How to best choose a nursing home in Chicago for a loved one requires thoughtful consideration and meticulous research. With numerous options available in Chicago alone, our team at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC thinks it’s important to know the right questions to ask. Learn what you need to know to ensure that your loved one receives the highest quality of care. If you believe your loved one is experiencing abuse at a nursing home, contact us for a free consultation.

What Questions Should You Ask When Choosing a Nursing Home?

Choosing a nursing home is a big decision. You’ll want to gather as much information as possible to ensure the well-being and happiness of your loved one. Here are some questions you might consider asking as part of your nursing home checklist:

How long has your facility been in operation?

The answer to this question provides insight into the nursing home’s history and stability. A long-standing facility might have a record of more reliable care, whereas a newer facility might offer more modern amenities but lack an established track record.

What activities do you have available for residents?

Stimulating activities play a key role in nursing home residents’ mental and physical well-being. Choosing a nursing home with a diverse range of activities indicates that a facility has a holistic approach to care, ensuring residents remain engaged, entertained, and socially connected.

Do residents have private bathrooms?

Private bathrooms offer residents a sense of dignity, privacy, and independence. A private bathroom can also reduce the risk of spreading infections in shared facilities.

Can residents eat when they want?

This question gauges the flexibility and person-centered care approach of the facility. Allowing residents to eat on their own schedules respects their autonomy and can contribute to better nutrition and overall satisfaction. This is especially important in your decision to choose a nursing home that caters to residents who don’t adhere to traditional meal times.

What is your staff-to-resident ratio?

A suitable staff-to-resident ratio ensures that residents receive timely and adequate care. Lower ratios indicate that the facility values personalized attention and can address individual needs and emergencies more effectively.

What is your staff turnover rate?

A high staff turnover rate might indicate issues with management, job satisfaction, or the work environment. Consistency in staffing can lead to better rapport and understanding between caregivers and residents, which is essential for quality care.

How do you prepare for and handle emergencies?

Understanding a facility’s emergency preparedness is necessary for ensuring the safety of residents during unforeseen events. Choosing a nursing home with a well-thought-out plan signifies proactive management and a commitment to resident well-being during crises like power outages, natural disasters, and health emergencies.

How are you protecting residents from COVID-19?

In the context of the global pandemic, this question is pivotal to gauging a facility’s adaptability and dedication to resident health. The answer should reflect up-to-date practices in line with public health guidelines to prevent outbreaks and ensure a safe environment.

Are staff members and residents fully vaccinated?

Vaccination status can be a significant factor in preventing disease spread, especially in a communal living environment. Choose a nursing home where both staff and residents are vaccinated to protect your vulnerable loved from residents from various illnesses, including COVID-19.

Can residents continue to see their personal doctors?

Continuity of care is essential for many residents, especially if they have long-standing relationships with personal physicians. This question probes the facility’s flexibility and its focus on individualized care, ensuring residents don’t have to disrupt medical relationships they trust.

Do you provide special care for residents with dementia?

Dementia care requires specialized training and a tailored living environment. By asking this question, you can choose a nursing home that is equipped to meet the unique needs of dementia patients, from skilled nursing care to environmental modifications.

What safety features do you have in place?

This question highlights the facility’s physical safety measures, such as surveillance systems, secure entrances, grab bars, and emergency call systems. A comprehensive safety infrastructure protects residents from accidents and external threats.

Red Flags: How Not to Choose a Nursing Home

While many nursing homes offer excellent care, it’s essential to remain vigilant for any signs that might indicate subpar service, neglect, or other issues. Below are some red flags that should give you pause when searching for a nursing home in Chicago:

  • Consistent negative reviews or complaints
  • Unpleasant or strong odors throughout the facility
  • Staff appearing stressed, overworked, or inattentive
  • Residents left unattended for long periods
  • Lack of cleanliness or proper maintenance
  • High staff turnover rates
  • Reluctance to answer questions or provide inspection reports
  • Residents appearing unkempt or neglected
  • Lack of social activities or engagement
  • Reports of frequent accidents or injuries
  • Restrictions on visiting hours or unscheduled visits
  • Lack of privacy for residents
  • Lack of individualized care plans for residents
  • Unexplained bruises or injuries on residents
  • Delayed responses to resident call buttons
  • Non-functioning safety equipment (e.g., emergency call buttons)
  • Lack of proper credentialing or training for staff
  • Aggressive or inappropriate behavior from staff or residents

What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

Woman nurse having a conversation about how to choose a nursing home in Chicago with an older woman.If you suspect your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse, prompt action is essential. First, visit the facility and speak confidentially with your loved one to understand their perspective without causing them distress. If the threat is immediate, consider relocating your loved one for their safety.

If it seems like they have suffered any degree of abuse or neglect, document as much as possible about the abuse and their condition, including by taking photographs when appropriate. Next, contact your local authorities to initiate an investigation. You can contact any of the following to report nursing home abuse:

You should also contact a trusted nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can advise you on your rights and available courses of action. They can also gather evidence, communicate with relevant authorities, and build a robust case if litigation becomes necessary.

Contact a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Now

Choosing a nursing home is a big step, but it’s not always the last. If you suspect your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it’s time to take legal action. You may get results like many of our previous clients.

The dedicated team of Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC is ready to guide and support you. Contact us online or call us now at 312-346-8620 for an initial consultation to learn more.

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Written by Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC Last Updated : January 26, 2024